The Sports Corner: Rays have a rough week

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Here we are, another busy week in sports. USF baseball and softball were in action through the week while the big club in town, the Rays, struggled on the road. In other news, the Orlando Magic’s season finally came to an end. Here is the latest Sports Corner. 

USF football

The spring game is Saturday, the 15th and fans are excited. It will be one of the first times we get to see what the offense/defense looks like and how Coach Strong and this staff are coming along. The game is at 4 PM on campus at Corbett Stadium.

USF Men’s Basketball

Finally, some good news for the program. On Monday it was reported that 3-star forward Justin Brown and Penn State guard Terrence Samuel were coming to USF, both being eligible right away. Brown is a 6’6″ small forward that can give USF some height inside the paint. Samuel, who was at Uconn in 2014, came off the bench last year for Penn State, averaging 3 PPG, but with nearly everyone gone, he could be a key contributor for the team.

USF Women’s Basketball

The Bulls got great news on Wednesday afternoon as the school reported the signing of 5-star wing player Silivia Serrat to the 2017 class (from Spain). Serrat joins Alba Prieto (another 5-star recruit) and Vanessa Blagmon for next year’s class. With this solid recruiting class, the great returning starters in Kitija Laksa and hopefully healthy players in Laura Ferreria and Enna Pehadzic, this team is going to be even more dangerous than they were a year ago, one many of us called a “rebuilding” year.

On Thursday, it was also announced that Coach Jose Fernandez would get a contract extension that would extend him to 2023. That is pretty awesome and well deserved.

USF softball

On Wednesday afternoon, the Bulls beat Jacksonville, 5 to 2, to improve their record to 25-19 (4-4) on the year. Astin Donovan was 1 for 2 with a run scored. Kassandra Moeller was 2 for 4 with an RBI and Lindsey Devitt was 2 for 4 and scored a run. Cheyenne Eggens (6-6) went 4 innings, allowing 2 hits and struck out one batter. Hannah Parker (S 4) closed the door, going 2.1 innings and striking out 2 to help secure the out of conference victory.

On Thursday, the Bulls fell 2 to 0 on the road, dropping their record to 25-20 (4-5) on the year as the offense could not get going at all. Kristen Wyckoff went 0 for 3 with a walk. Sam Worrell was 2 for 3 while Lauren Evans was just 1 for 3 with a strike out. Kalen McGill (10-6) went 4 innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 run, walking 3 batters. Hannah Parker went 2 innings in relief, allowing 2 hits, 1 run, walking 2 batters, and struck out one.

On Friday, the Bulls will take the field at 5:30 PM.

USF baseball

On Tuesday night the Bulls took a break from AAC play and won a wild game over Stetson on the road, 8 to 6, to move to 28-5 on the season. USF was down 6 to 2 at one point but rallied late to take this game against an in-state foe. Kevin Merrell was 3 for 5 with a run scored and stole a base. Chris Chatfield was 1 for 2, scored 2 runs, and walked 3 times while Andres Leal was 3 for 5 and scored a run. DJ Roberts (ND) struggled in the start, going 3.1 innings, allowing 6 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks and struck out 3. The bullpen did their job to keep USF in the game while Andrew Perez (3-1) closed it out, going 2 innings, striking out 3 batters to close it out.

On Thursday night, the Bulls lost 9 to 4 in a very ugly game for the Bulls, dropping their record to 28-6 (4-3) as they fell to Cincinnati. USF had 5 errors in the game and left 15 on base, it was just ugly out there. Luke Borders was 2 for 5 with an RBI while Tyler Dietrich was 2 for 3. Cameron Montgomery went 2 for 4 and scored a run as the offense left a lot of runs on the base pads early in the game. Phoenix Sanders (4-1) went 5.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, 5 runs, walking 3 and striking out 2 in a bad game for the ace starter of the staff. Collin Sullivan was the lone bright spot for the bullpen going 2 innings, allowing 1 hit and struck out 3 batters.

On Friday night, the two sides will take the field at 6:30 PM.

Tampa Bay Rays

On Monday, the Rays fell 8 to 1 to the New York Yankees, dropping their record to 5-3 on the year. The Rays managed just 2 hits, one from Evan Longoria to break up Michael Pineda’s perfect game and then another hit, a home run by Logan Morrison, to break up the shut-out. It was just an embarrassing game from the start. Alex Cobb (1-1) went 7.1 innings, allowing 6 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, and struck out 7. Cobb’s final line wasn’t great, but he did pitch well and kept the Rays in it for most of the game. Austin Pruitt went two thirds, allowing 4 hits, 3 runs, and walked two batters to push that ERA to 19.29 on the year. I’ll go on the record right now, I have seen enough from Pruitt, I have no faith in this kid to get an out any time he is called upon.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Rays fell 8 to 4, dropping their record to 5-4 on the year. It was an ugly game where the Rays gave up 6 runs through the 6th and 7th innings, giving up a lead. Tim Beckham had a costly fielding error while Rickie Weeks, who was 1 for 3 with a 2-run home run, left with a sore neck and shoulder. Steven Souza Jr. was 1 for 5 with a run scored while Corey Dickerson was 1 for 4 with an RBI. Blake Snell was bad (ND) going 4.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 runs, walking 3 and struck out one. Jumbo Diaz (0-1) went two thirds, allowing 3 hits, 3 runs, and walked one batter.

On Thursday night, the Rays lost 2 to 3 to New York, dropping their record to 5-5 on the year as they lost another game in the Bronx. The Rays had the lead, but the bullpen lost it late. Corey Dickerson was 2 for 4 while Peter Bourjos was 1 for 3 with a home run after taking over for Mallex Smith who left the game with a tight hamstring. Jesus Sucre was 1 for 2 with an RBI and drew a walk. Matt Andriese (ND) went 6 innings, allowing 5 hits, 1 run, walking 3, and struck out 5 batters. Xavier Cedeno struggled again while Danny Farquhar wen an solid inning, striking out 2 after walking 2 batters.

The Rays will head to Boston on Friday night (game begins at 7:05 PM) as Chris Archer takes the mound for the good guys.

Bonus, Durham Bulls quick report:

Durham, the AAA team for the Rays, won moved to 7-1 on the year over Charlotte, winning 6 to 0. Willy Adames went 0 for 5 and is batting .104 on the year to get it started. Casey Gillaspie went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Shane Petterson went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Taylor Guerrieri (ND) went 3.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 run, and struck out 5 batters in a short outing due to an apparent elbow injury, which is bad news for a top prospect in the system.

Orlando Magic

On Monday night the Magic got hammered, falling 122 to 75 at Chicago, dropping their season record to 28-53. This game was a complete joke, Orlando never had a chance from the jump and Chicago, who is chasing a playoff spot, made them pay. Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 10 rebounds while Elfrid Payton had 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Bismack Biyombo had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals coming off the bench.

On Wednesday night, the Magic capped off the ugly year, winning 113 to 109 to end the season at 29-53, their 5th straight losing season. Aaron Gordon had 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Magic while Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Elfrid Payton chipped in 21 points and 13 assists. Jodie Meeks had 12 points off the bench. Now the long off-season begins for this team. With Rob Hennigan gone, more is going to come for this franchise. Who will the Magic draft? Who will be added to the roster and who will leave? Gear up for what should be an active off-season.

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